Donate Your Breast Milk in 4 Simple Steps Become a Donor Today!
Our donors are in their first year postpartum and have extra milk to share. They’re most often feeding their own babies, and built up a freezer stash of milk their babies didn’t need. Many of our donors are exclusive pumpers, while some collect milk while nursing or pump an extra time at night so they can donate. Dr. Geraghty says that during the 2022 formula shortage, families were directly called HMBANA milk banks to get donor milk, but there was simply not enough available milk for these parents. All babies can benefit from donor breast milk, but medically vulnerable babies are likely to benefit the most, says King.
Almost all milk banks will require a blood draw at a local lab; they usually cover this expense. Your blood must test negative for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B/C, and Syphilis. Starting your journey as a milk donor or milk recipient can be exciting —and let’s face it, a little stressful. You may not be sure where to get the most up-to-date information on donating, or which sources to trust when it comes to receiving breast milk for your little one. These situations can get a little more complicated, as you will likely have to decide if informal milk donation is right for you and your baby. This decision will depend on your circumstances, what your options are, and what you and your healthcare provider think is best.
Some moms need to supplement because they don’t produce enough milk for their babies, and some families who adopt children prefer to give breast milk instead of formula. Milk should be collected in sterile bags or containers made for breast milk storage, or in a food-grade plastic or glass container that’s been sanitized by boiling it in water for five minutes. Milk should be sealed and labeled with the date it was pumped. Avoid combining milk from more than one pumping session in the same container due to concerns of bacterial growth. Dirty breast pumps or containers and non-sanitized hands during handling can easily contaminate breast milk.
Babies aren’t the only ones who benefit from receiving donor milk, says King, especially if you are a parent dealing with a vulnerable baby. “The parent receiving the milk may feel empowered by knowing that they are still able to provide the optimal source of nutrition to their child,” she says. This can enhance the bonding experience and help them deal with any difficult feelings they are experiencing. As for donating through a non-accredited organization or group, or even directly to a friend?
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It should be explained to you that you will need to go through a screening process before you can donate milk. First you should be asked some questions about your medical history, and your general health and lifestyle. These questions should be asked as part of an informal discussion, but milk bank staff may also ask you to fill in a questionnaire . If any information is needed from your medical records they should ask for your consent to look at these. Many moms, however, find their donor through online resources that connect local donors to recipients.
While frozen milk isconsidered safe for use at homefor up to 12 months, many banks have shorter limits on the amount of time milk can spend in the freezer before being donated. If you’re unsure about your local bank’s policy, call them and ask. Breast milk is expressed or pumped by the mother herself, using a breast pump in the comfort of her house.
We live in London in the UK, if anyone has any suggestions of where we could donate please please let me know, even if it means travelling a bit it’s better than throwing it all away. Not have any medical condition that prohibits her from giving blood (there are exceptions to this rule – please contact us if this applies to you). After this step, you will be asked to get a blood test screening for infections like HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis. Verywell Family’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.